What is an agency nurse?

An agency nurse is a qualified, registered nurse working in a hospital or other healthcare setting that requires additional staffing, such as due to shortages, increased workload or seasonal pressures. The length of agency nursing assignments can start at as little as one shift, depending on the requirements of the healthcare organisation in question. The placement type, and pay rate may depend entirely on the nursing agency involved and the role being undertaken. Agency nurses can be specialised in many different sectors, such as A&E Nurses, ITU Nurses, Paediatric Nurses and more…


What does an agency nurse job involve?

Working as an agency nurse may involve all manner of things. Agency nurses provide a wide range of healthcare related duties, depending on their qualifications and the department or setting in which they’re working. It’s said that no two days in nursing are the same, and this couldn’t be more true for agency nurses. Typical agency nursing responsibilities may include:


  • Assessing and observing patient conditions
  • Administering treatments and/or medication
  • Liaising with patients and their families 
  • Creating and implementing patient care plans 
  • Preparing patients for treatments or procedures 
  • Collaborating with other disciplines/healthcare professionals


What skills do I need to become an agency nurse?

In order to practise as an agency nurse, you will require a nursing qualification, an NMC Pin number and the right to work in the UK. Alongside this, there are a number of key skills that lend themselves well to an agency nurse role. Here, we’ve outlined a few of them, but by no means all of them:


  • Communication

An agency nurse job will require you to communicate with an enormous range of people, from all walks of life and backgrounds. You’ll need to be comfortable speaking with patients, their families or guardians, as well as a multi-disciplinary team of healthcare professionals such as doctors or other nurses. Communication is far more than just speaking however, so be mindful of things such as active listening, non-verbal communication and body language. 




  • Patience and Compassion

Working with patients requires…patience. This helps to reduce stress in high pressure environments, can improve rapport with others and to stay calm. In an agency nurse job, patience is especially important as you may be working in a range of different situations. This goes hand in hand with empathy, remembering that everyone is fighting their own battle. Compassion is often considered the most important soft skill in an agency nurse job, to help give patients peace of mind and make them feel more comfortable. 

  • Flexibility and Adaptability

Agency nursing jobs require you to be highly adaptable. You may move between different healthcare environments regularly, so being able to hit the ground running is a real benefit. If you can seize each challenge and be willing to jump in at the deep end, you’ll find your agency nurse job all the more rewarding. Flexibility is an important part of being resilient also, having an open mind and turning problems into opportunities. 



How do I become an agency nurse?

In order to become an agency nurse, you’ll need to apply to work with a nursing agency. Mayday Healthcare is a market leading nursing recruitment agency, matching nurses with agency nursing jobs throughout the UK. We’re confident that whatever your preferences, we can offer competitive nurse pay rates and an excellent range of shift types. You can register in under a minute with our quick-register form here




How much do agency nurses get paid?

Agency nurse pay rates can depend on a number of factors, including salary band, shift type, location and sector. We’ve developed a comprehensive agency nurse pay rate guide, based on different sectors, shift type and location. You can explore the Nurse Pay Rate Hub here. If you want to know more about how much our agency nurses get paid, you can also contact a member of our team today to discuss pay rates. 


What is a nursing agency?

A nursing agency provides nursing staff to hospitals and other healthcare organisations, matching nurses with suitable jobs - these roles may be contract, temporary or permanent, depending on the agency itself and the preferences of their nursing workforce. Mayday Healthcare has been working to match nurses with jobs since 2003, so we’re well positioned to help you find your next agency nurse job. 


How do I choose a nursing agency?

Selecting the right nursing agency is paramount to finding a rewarding career as an agency nurse. Do some research into the type of roles recruited for by each agency, try to find feedback or reviews, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. For more information on how we operate at Mayday Healthcare, a member of our friendly team will be able to talk you through our entire process, where you’ll have access to support and guidance throughout.